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Thursday, December 08, 2022

Associated Press FACT CHECK: Trump distorts Obama-Biden aid to Ukraine

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – Describing himself as tough on Russia, former President Donald Trump has downplayed the amount of US military aid provided to Ukraine during the Obama-Biden administration, claiming that in recent history only he himself has not faced another Russian invasion. Country. not true.

Meanwhile, Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, made a dubious claim that all of Ukraine’s weapons now in use came from the Trump administration.

A look at the claims and reality of the weekend:

Trump, comparing military aid in his administration to President Barack Obama, says: “I was the one who sent the spear, not Obama. Obama sent the blankets.” – Rally on Saturday in Commerce, Georgia.

Pence: “The Obama-Biden administration just sent them food and blankets.” – Interview Friday on Fox News Channel.

Fact: Trump and Pence are misrepresenting the amount of aid under Obama and Biden and highlighting their own delays in helping Ukraine.

While the Obama administration refused to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons in 2014 to fight Russian-backed separatists, it did offer a host of other military and security aid – not just “blankets”. Administration worries that providing lethal weapons such as the Javelin anti-tank missile could provoke Russian President Vladimir Putin to escalate conflict in Ukraine’s separatist Donbass region near the Russian border.

As of March 2015, the Obama administration had provided more than $120 million in security aid for Ukraine and promised $75 million worth of equipment, including counter-mortar radar, night vision devices and medical supplies, according to the Department of Defense. The US also mortgaged 230 Humvee vehicles.

The offer of US aid came after Putin annexed Crimea in 2014 and provided support for separatists in eastern cities.

Ultimately between 2014 and 2016, the Obama administration committed more than $600 million in security aid to Ukraine.

In the final year of the Obama administration, the US established the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which provided US military equipment and training to help defend Ukraine against Russian aggression. From 2016 to 2019, Congress appropriated $850 million for the initiative.

In 2017 the Trump administration agreed to provide lethal aid to Ukraine, later committing to selling $47 million in javelins.

But two years later, Trump delayed the release of Congress-approved security aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into his political rival, Joe Biden. The case was part of Trump’s 2020 impeachment trial.

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Trump: “Indeed, I stand as the only president of the 21st century under whose watch Russia and Putin have not invaded any other country.” – Saturday rally.

Fact: Trump is not alone.

Putin, who served as President of Russia from 2000 to 2008, and then as prime minister before returning to the presidency in 2012, actually invaded Georgia in 2008 during George W. Bush’s second term Was. He also moved to Ukraine in 2014 under Obama’s supervision. It is also true that Putin did not attack any country during Trump’s tenure.

But even Bill Clinton, who served his second term in January 2001, has never seen an invasion by Putin into another country. Russia invaded Chechnya twice in the 1990s, but Chechnya is a territory of Russia, not a country.

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Pence: “Ukrainian soldiers are using weapons that our administration provided them, and they were suspended by the Biden administration.” – Fox interview.

Fact: It’s a stretch. With both sides going through weapons and ammunition so quickly in the brutal Ukraine-Russia war, it is doubtful that the javelin Ukraine received from the US during the Trump years would still be on the shelf. Trump did not provide Stinger anti-aircraft systems to Ukrainians.

The total specified military aid to Ukraine since Biden took office is about $2 billion, including an $800 million package announced by Biden on March 16. Some of the $13.6 billion in military and humanitarian aid recently approved by Congress to help Ukraine and its neighbors include a range of lethal weapons such as Stingers, Javelin anti-armor systems, Mi-17 helicopters, grenade launchers and more. , Humvees, body armor and helmets.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged the West to provide his country with warplanes and air defense missiles, insisting on Sunday that “this is necessary not only for the independence of Ukraine, but also for the independence of Europe.” “

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Editor’s note – A look at the veracity of the claims of political figures.

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Find Associated Press Fact Check at http://apnews.com/APFactCheck

Follow @APFactCheck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APFactCheck

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